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bdurkovic

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Looking for general information about credit, loans and my first home
Im 21 years old. I'm looking to buy a house within 3 or 4 years. I'm looking to do whatever I can do right now to be in the best position possible when I'm ready to buy the house.
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My credit scores are:

Transunion: 715
Experian: 699
Equifax: 665

Vantage: 711

I have $2,900 currently on the cards and that will be paid off before the end of the year, which will raise my score. Once they're paid off I won't be charging a lot, just what I can pay off in full each month.

The Equifax should be higher, but I can't check it until next month.
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My credit cards and only pieces of credit are:

Capital One Secured: $750—10/2012
Capital One Quicksilver: $4,000—04/2014
Chase Freedom Rewards: $2,200—09/2014

I don't really need the secured card anymore. I would like to close it and get a Discover rewards card, but the secured card is my longest piece of credit history so I might as well keep it open.
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I currently gross $26,000 a year before bonuses and over time. With bonuses and minimum over time my gross would be $42,000. I have a plan to pay my car off, have $2,000 saved up for an emergency fund and $10,000 saved up for a house. I do not have a car loan, I pay my father so that doesn't count as credit.
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Now my question is what can I do to make a bank give me the most money possible? Not that I'll use it all, but I'd like to see what's available.
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How can I raise my score to the 800s? It should be around 750 after I pay off my credit cards.
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Should I apply for the Discover rewards card now just to have it so it can start aging and earning me points with Discover, which would make them want to raise the limit over time, which would raise my overall available credit?
I'd take a hard inquiry and my average credit age will go down from the .83 years it's currently at, but the sooner I get it the better right?
Then my 3 relatively new cards will all be about 3-4 years old when it's time to buy a house, my hard inquiries will be down to 0 and my report will show more on time payments.

I'd also be open to an American Express, but Credit Karma is recommending a Citi Diamond Preferred blablabla...

Having 1 Visa, 1 MasterCard, 1 Discover and 1 American Express would be nice. Should I just get a Discover and an American Express now and let them age and grow? Then cancel the Secured card in a few years when all my cards are around 3 years old? I'd have 4 good cards that I can keep for life and just upgrade the accounts as better offers come along if I were to do that.
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Would getting small loans and paying them back help my credit score? For example, the bank gives me $1,000 and 30 days to pay it back. I don't use the money, but pay it back on day 29.

I've read it only helps your score until the loan is paid off, then it comes off your record.

However I've also read that the loan may stay on your report for 10 years.

However however, won't that give me a hard inquiry every time I apply for a loan?

However however however, when simulating how much money a bank will give me for a home it asked what was the highest amount of money I've been approved for on a loan and I've never gotten a loan before. So should I get one?
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Any suggestions or comments would be appreciated.

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